Sunday, December 19, 2010
LEGAL NOTE: The views and opinions in this blog belong to only me. In no way am I speaking in the name or as a representative of any retail company.
If the managers at my job see this blog, they will probably fire me for it. I would hate for that to happen, but at least I will get some of my dignity back. I usually get between 4-15 hours of work a week for $9 an hour. (I work in a top lingerie store.) I tend to work an average of two days a week because while I always get scheduled for more, the managers at my job will often call at the last minute to cut my shifts. Sometimes they leave messages on my phone, blaming the low sales week for the need to make "payroll adjustments." Sometimes I come to work and they tell me to leave right away. Sometimes they cancel my shift and give it to someone else. They are always hiring new people, though.
At work today, the petite hiring manager smiled at me and said, "You don't have to come in for work tomorrow." That's one shift less than I will get paid for, which means that I will be $36 in the red in two weeks. I guess that I can forget about paying my cell phone bill for the fourth consecutive month.
The MetroCard machine in the bus accidentally deducted one extra fare when I was supposed to have a transfer today. I got off the bus and walked to the subway station a few feet away. I explained what happened to the subway attendant, but he refused to give me a fare ticket. I can walk to the subway from home, but I usually take the bus if I see it. I walked home today in tears.
I cried when I got home. I cried when I pulled out my laptop and logged on the SparkPeople. I am crying now. But I will not eat above calorie range.
I have $10 in MetroCard fare to get to and from my internship, work and the gym for the next two weeks. It costs $2.25 each way.
I have maybe two dollars in my Capital One bank account. I used to have a Chase debit card, but I think that they revoked it because I couldn't afford to pay the $40 overdraft fee.
I live with my mother and three siblings. We got denied for food stamps recently because we make too much money. By law, you have to report all household income in the application. She put in her pay stubs, and I submitted two of mine, which proved that I only made $115.14 in a month. I guess we're too "rich" to eat.
I got my bachelor's degree more than a year ago. I still don't have a copy of my diploma, though, because I owe my alma mater money. It makes me sad to think that despite all the years of sacrificing and "doing the right thing," I still won't get hired at McDonald's. (Trust me, I've tried.) I have applied to hundreds of jobs since I graduated. I have five different resumes with years of experience that I've accumulated over the years. Of course I've applied to jobs in my field (which is communications.) I have applied to temp agencies, I have applied to childcare jobs, I have applied to every retail store I could find, I have applied to jobs that I don't want to do and jobs that I never thought that I would be desperate enough to apply for.
If I knew that I would be in poverty post-college grad, I would've skipped college. Even though my job wouldn't have been glamorous, I probably would have four solid years of job experience with a manager job somewhere by now. If skipped college, I wouldn't be $17,000+ in tuition debt, I wouldn't be waiting for my mom to come home from work so that I could use her cell phone. (My cell phone account is completely suspended.)
I grew up dirt-poor. I grew up with no self esteem. I kept my grades up, because I figured that my grades could get me out. It did the opposite. I have always been careful with money, and remember giving my "father" half of my paychecks as a teenager. Despite the fact that he treated me like garbage, I always fell for it. When I was in college, I gave him a cell phone when I learned that his credit rating didn't allow him to receive one. He stopped paying his share, and last winter I was forced to dip into my emergency savings to pay for his share. I closed his account.
Now, things have changed, and he makes more than twice my mother's salary. My mother finally decided to leave that abusive marriage two years ago. She found a job and an apartment, and was just making it. But eventually her job got taken over by a new company, and they decided to cut everyone's salary. We're lucky that she didn't lose her job. Too bad she still can't afford a divorce.
Too bad that she has her own problems, and doesn't really take mine seriuosly.
Despite all this, I've lost more than 54 pounds since March. Sometimes it's so hard to wake up in the morning because I know that I have another difficult day ahead. But other times it's easy because I know that soon enough I'll be burning calories and building muscle at the gym. To save MetroCard fare, I do a lot of walking from the gym to where I have to go. I walk in the heat, in the cold, in the rain, and I'll probably will be walking in the snow.
I know that retail can be hard when it comes to money, but I do take this personal! I had paychecks where I made less than $50 in two weeks. These manager who cut my shifts know this, and yet they don't care. So I don't care what they go through either. To them I'm probably just some lowly associate who doesn't process enough credit applications, or smile enough to the customers anyway. So why should I focus on something that I can't change? I'd rather focus on the good!
I have a lot of little pleasures. Like today, I ate two and a half candy canes, my first and probably last for the holiday season. They tasted really good, since I don't eat much candy anymore. (I don't even miss it.) I like my unpaid internship, and since I'm not landing a job anyway, at least for two days out of the week I can feel like I actually matter. I have friends that even though I can't afford to go out with or talk on the phone with sometimes, when I do talk with them, we trade some so sad that they're funny bad parenting stories!
I have jeans that are a size 8 that are getting too baggy. I have dreams of running a 5-K by Summer 2012, and physical strength that makes me think that I can do this before my mental deadline. I have a certain affinity for steamed mixed vegetables, and have discovered that the one of the joys of a $20 bi-weekly food budget is the fact that I don't have that much room for temptations. I have sacrificed pretty much everything to pay for my gym membership, but I have never regretted it for a single day because I love the fact that I'm already trying to sign up for my first spinning class without knowing the schedule for it. I love the fact that I can leave home to go somewhere and relax. And I will walk through any weather to get that experience.
I have ended my relationship with my biological father, and for the first time, I actually feel my self-esteem developing. I feel free from his negativity when I think of the many times he made my life difficult, and how ten years ago, he consistently told my 13-year old self that I will be so fat that no man could ever want me. I think of the time when he laughed about my "big and fat" 11-year old body with the males sales associate while I cried in shame. (BTW: Letter to my 13-year old self will come once I hit goal weight. Fitting room chronicles blog coming soon too!)
And to those lovely lingerie store managers who will probably fire me if they read this blog: The more you cut my shifts, the more I will cut MY fat :)
Sparkers: Let me know what you think about my blog. Had you ever had financial problems? Have you ever been emotionally abused by a parent? What struggles do you have besides losing weight? What keeps you motivated to lose weight when other aspects of your life are in shambles? Do you agree with my views? Do you agree with my opinion that a college education is overrated in America? If you were a manager at my job, would you fire me for this blog? Why or why not?